In our regulated world today, there is no avoiding the need for better document control. Anyone familiar with the bite of Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel II, SEC, HIPAA, and FRCP eDiscovery can quickly attest to this. One of our customers said it best in his comment about regulatory risk, “Every piece of paper is a liability waiting to happen if it gets misfiled or lost.”
But implementing a document control system offers even more than “being compliant” with the regulation du jour.
The usefulness of placing controls on information – regulating access, logging changes, managing distribution, automating actions in business processes – has operational and productivity benefits that extend well beyond the realm of regulatory compliance.
Consider this: How much time is spent by typical knowledge workers simply looking for lost documents, trying to locate documents they know exist but were created by others, or recreating versions that can’t be found? In an office where files are saved on personal drives, shared folders, and filing cabinets, versus one where documents are maintained in easily-accessible repositories with versioning and indexed searching, the time differences can be quantified in real terms by worker productivity.
This simplest of examples barely sheds light on the extent to which information accessibility, or its inaccessibility, influences productivity.
Even greater benefits are realized through process automation. Document control can automate repetitive business process that generate a paper trail. This includes virtually any process that has a review, notification, approval, or a multitude of other actions. Document control removes the user dependence from the process to make the process flow automatically. People focus on decisions, leaving technology to drive the process forward.